I think it was 20 years ago now, I was in a small Colorado town to present an all-day astrological workshop. Afterwards, we all went to dinner and I was seated next to a woman about my age, late 40s. The subject of menopause came up. I asked her how she was working with it. She looked at me hesitantly, and then blurted: “I haven’t been to a doctor in years!”
“Me either!” I shot back, delighted to find a compatriot.
That exchange led to a spirited conversation about our various ways of working with not only menopause, but health generally. Both of us practiced tai chi and chi kung, both of us worked with acupuncturists, energy workers, our dreams, herbs, natural and medicinal foods.
Moreover, and perhaps more important, though seldom discussed in natural health circles: both of us had similar metaphysical views. We viewed matter and energy as two poles of a spectrum, with matter as a condensation of energy. Wellness, in this context, has to do with the free flow of energy, with “illness” signifying that the energy is, somehow, somewhere, stuck.
We both viewed our “self” as composed of four bodies: spiritual, mental, emotional and physical. We saw physical illness as originating in some kind of limiting pattern in the spiritual body. If the pattern is not dissolved there, then it migrates down, to infect first the mental body, then the emotional body, and then finally, if the spiritual, mental and emotional stress continues unabated, the original spiritual pattern will end up lodged somewhere in the physical body.
So, for both of us, understanding the spiritual roots of any physical “dis-ease” was crucial. Plus, through our own experience, we had come to recognize that spiritual patterns hide in the unconscious, that they can be very difficult to ferret out. It’s no wonder people would rather pop a pill! Self-knowledge is a life-long quest.
Neither of us suffered from hot flashes. Nor were we taking hormones.
It was unusual back then (still is, from what I can tell), to not run to a doctor with the slightest symptom. In fact, for both of us, estrangement from industrial medicine helped us step outside this soul-deadening culture altogether and develop an entirely other world view wherein control over one’s own body is both a natural right and an innate responsibility.
Actually, I took myself off the absurdly expensive and often deadly tit we call modern medicine way before menopause, back in my early 30s, when I could not afford health insurance. Thank god for that! Had I been able to afford health insurance then, I might not have carved out my own autonomy in such a thorough manner.
One of my sisters did the same thing, and for the same initial reason, decades ago. When she and I get together we swap remedies, and healing stories. She also does yoga, and walks daily. And she concocts her own herbal mixtures, even for her cats. Looking after one’s own health, it turns out, is a fascinating business, well worth doing, even fun! Returning to the wisdom of the body is to be continuously gifted with a mysterious creative unfoldment, once we allow ourselves to stop, and listen, to what the body is trying, through its “symptoms,” to say.
BTW: Our father was a medical doctor, our mother a nurse. Of the eight siblings, she and I are among the healthiest.
So you can imagine how excited I was to come across this month-old mainstream story about a man in Montana, his fight to save his son from both cancer and the miseries of chemotherapy.